Title: Choices 3A/?
Disclaimer: I don't own them, but I spend a lot of time with them. This is gonna get dark folks, so consider yourselves warned.
Archiving: P & P, DuVista, women_in_kevlar, all others please ask. Next in my series. Many thanks to red_state_exile for betaing and Soul_Caged aka Complete_Machine for being my new writing partner
The rumble of thunder woke Natalia out of her peaceful slumber where she was still
in Calleigh’s protective embrace. Slowly she raised her head to meet sleepy jade eyes, looking at her with concern.
“Mornin’ darlin’, how ya feelin’?”
Natalia took a deep breath, mentally feeling around in the corners of her psyche, and was surprised to feel no anxiety, remnants of fear, nor self-recrimination. Turning her gaze back to her wife, Natalia smiled. “I’m good.” She rose above her, caramel colored hair curtaining out the rest of the world. “Actually, I’m great because I woke up in your arms. I don’t ever want to be anywhere else.” She pressed her hips into Calleigh’s, causing her to gasp.
Moaning, Calleigh grasped Natalia’s hips, pulling her tighter up against her. “Ahh… Wish we could stay in bed for the whole day.”
Leaning down and giving Calleigh a long hard kiss, Natalia only broke it off to catch her breath. “I would love a whole day of tempting and teasing you, but you, my love, have a doctor’s appointment while I get to take the certification.”
“Hey! Afterwards, we can go to the bank to take care of the accounts and paperwork for the cabin. What time are you supposed to be there?”
Nibbling on the peaches and cream neck, Natalia muttered. “Have to be there at a quarter to eleven.”
Arching her neck to allow Natalia more access, Calleigh purred and ran her hands up the muscular back. “Aw babe, I want you so bad. My mouth is watering for the taste of you.”
“Soon my love, soon.” Leaning down, Natalia gave her wife one more lingering kiss. “So let’s get this show on the road so we can come back home, and continue this.”
They both reluctantly got out of bed, got dressed and were soon on their way to work, stopping briefly to grab some breakfast on the run.
Finally driving into the parking lot, they walked inside, and parted at the entrance with a squeeze of their hands, Natalia heading towards her lab, while Calleigh headed towards ballistics, but before she could get there, she remembered that she had forgotten to bring in her extra change of clothes. Sighing, she turned around and headed back out to the car.
She was just closing the trunk when Eric drove up, honking at her to get her attention. Suddenly Natalia’s words from the previous evening rushed back, ‘Eric can’t touch you, not ever.’
Calleigh felt her whole body snap tight with pressure, her heart froze, and her anger poured a steel resolve into her soul. Her nails dug into her hands as she realized the nightmare may have been about Jethro, but it included Eric, and not without good reason.
Pushing down the urge to rip into him, Calleigh stood there and waited for the young man to join her. “Hey, I see that you’re running late too. Over sleep?”
Eric smiled in a boyish way, leaning against her car after dropping his duffle bag on the ground. “I guess me staying up all night missing you isn’t easy on my punctuality...”
Smiling thinly, Calleigh took a deep breath, plunging her hands in her pockets. “Hey... um... What happened yesterday afternoon between you and Natalia?”
Eric’s normally jovial smile vanished like a popsicle in the hot Miami sun. His body language changing instantly at the implication that something had happened. “Why do you ask?” his voice quiet.
“Shrugging her shoulders, Calleigh tried to project plain old curiosity. “Nothing really. Just curious. I was afraid that maybe Talia might have said something to you.”
Eric rolled his eyes scoffing. “I’m not afraid of anything SHE says...,” he sneered condescendingly at Calleigh. His smile returned, however, tenfold as something flitted across his face; he took a step in her direction. He put a hand next to Calleigh’s head, leaning over her. “I’m more worried about you.”
“You should be worried about me, about what I will do to you.” Calleigh’s tone turned hard and her eyes sparked jade fire. “If you get anywhere near Natalia again, I swear to God that I’ll make you regret it.”
Eric’s posture didn’t even change, he leaned in closer effectively pinning her against the car with his other hand lying on her shoulder, he smiled even wider. “Who cares about Natalia? I want you.” Eric ducked his head in an attempt to brush his lips against Calleigh’s.
Pushing him back, Calleigh growled. “I care about Natalia Eric, I love her. She’s my wife. In addition, I do not now, and have never wanted you. You were my friend and I valued that very much. All I want to do now is get you out of our lives. Please, Eric, understand that you and I will never be in a relationship.”
Eric’s smile turned into a mask of rage, his hand slipped from her shoulder, sliding down to crush her bicep in a steel grip. “Calleigh, this is ludicrous. Stop playing house with that whore and realize where you belong.” He finished his sentence with a sharp shake of her arm.
Yanking her arm out of his grip, Calleigh snarled back. “I am exactly where I belong. You need to step back. This is your only warning. Eric. Step back.”
Eric ignored the arm being torn from his grasp; instead, he grabbed her by the front of her shirt slamming her hard into the side of her Crossfire. The driver side window cracked in protest, his face inches from Calleigh’s. “YOU ARE MINE! I WON’T LET YOU LEAVE ME!” He roared, spit from his mouth landing on her cheeks. His face by now was red with rage, his teeth a startling white in contrast to his normally handsome features.
In that instant, Calleigh realized that the Eric she knew was no longer there, and this new person had taken his place. She felt incredibly calm on what she was about to do, considering she had once called Eric a friend.
“You want to play it this way, its fine with me.” Calleigh placed her thumb on the outside of Eric’s hand and twisted it towards his body. It was the same movement that Natalia had used against Ryan outside of Horatio’s office months ago. She kept twisting until he was kneeling on the ground.
Whispering in his ear, Calleigh gave him another warning. “You stay away from me and my wife. I’m telling you, that if you harm her, I will hunt you down and you will know the meaning of pain.”
Eric screamed loudly in pain, his arm was twisted at a horrible angle, his other hand however, reached out and wrapped around her ankle. He yanked upwards attempting to dislodge her.
Calleigh lost her balance in the face of his grip, falling on her side, knocking the wind out of her instantly. Her ribs jarred in slight pain, but she growled up at him in defiance.
“The only person who is ever going to call you ‘Wife’ is me, Calleigh.” He pinned her body beneath his, laying on top of her, cutting off any source of escape after clutching her wrists in his hands.
“I’m going to make sure that you’re someone’s wife in prison, Eric. I’m gonna find the biggest, baddest fucker there and introduce you to him.” She kneed him in the groin, and pushed him away as he doubled over in pain.
Eric dragged himself to his feet, and in his rage, grabbed her by the hair, still at his weakest, stronger than Calleigh. He punched her in the ribs with his free hand, making sure she couldn’t call for help. Letting her go, he all but ripped off the door by its hinges, getting into the vehicle, peeling out seconds later, fleeing in a blind panic. Eric roared in rage again, slamming his fist into the radio of his car, shattering it instantly, he drove as fast as he could out of town, somewhere safe for the time being.
Calleigh collapsed to the ground, gasping for air, trying in vain to stand. Finally, she reached into her pocket for her phone and called Ryan. “Ryan… Back lot… You alone.”
Calleigh was still on the ground when Ryan came running out, trying to catch her breath. Kneeling beside her, he carefully brushed her hair out of her face and waited until she could talk.
“Eric did this, didn’t he?”
Nodding her head, she took his outstretched hand and slowly stood up. “Yeah, he did. He has totally lost his mind.” She caught a glimpse of her driver’s side window and swore softly. “Damn it, now what do I do?”
“You need to report this Calleigh. He’s assaulted an officer, property damage, and harassment.”
Calleigh grimaced as she pushed up her sleeve to see the bruise that was beginning to form on her forearm. “Ryan, if I report him, he will lose his job. There has to be something wrong with him, this just isn’t like him.”
Ryan shook his head, “He’s been steadily been getting worse for the past couple of months, and it’s just not been about you. He’s been going on how he’s feels like he’s being followed, or that someone has been going through his locker.”
“Does Horatio know anything at all about this?”
Sighing, Ryan admitted. “No, I’ve been trying to keep a close watch on him, and hoping that I could actually prove that he was being watched. Just like you, I didn’t want him to lose his job.”
Calleigh took a couple of steps away from her car, running her hands through her hair. Thinking for a few moments, she turned back to her friend with her mind made up. “I need to ask you a favor, and you may not like what it is. I’m not going to report this, and I don’t want you to either, but I do want you to try and track him down. We need to get him to a doctor or someone who can get him some help. I also want you to take my car and get the window fixed. I’ll call Manny and he’ll be waiting for you.”
Taking a deep breath, Calleigh continued, “Now for the big favor. I don’t want you to tell Natalia anything. I’ll tell her this evening, but right now she needs to concentrate on her certification exam, and doesn’t need any more stress.”
“Ok, I can do all of that for you, but you need to be extra careful. I don’t think that Eric’s gonna give up so easy, and if he can’t get to you, he’s gonna go after either Natalia or your families.”
Calleigh hugged the young man before handing him her keys, and picking up her spare clothes that she had originally come outside for. Finally making it into ballistics, she collapsed behind her desk with her head resting in her hands.
After a few minutes, she shook her head mentally before reaching for the phone to call a mechanic that the department used and asked if he could fix her window as soon as possible. He agreed and she started to get to work.
About an hour later, Calleigh looked up as Ryan walked into ballistics, carrying Eric’s duffle bag, placing it on her desk.
“I found this next to where your car and Eric’s were parked together.” Ryan rubbed the back of his neck anxious to open the bag, but not to pry into his friends personal affairs.
Calleigh looked up at the grim expression on his face, while slowly standing up. “Do I want to know what’s in here?”
“Honestly, I don’t know if I want to know either, but we have nothing to go on... all we know is that Eric hasn’t been his normal self for the past few months.” Ryan shrugged, pushing his hands into the pockets of his tan slacks.
Reaching out, Calleigh grabbed the zipper tab, and slowly pulled it down the length of the bag. Pulling open the now gaping material, she reached in and pulled out a number of files, extra gun clips and stacks of photos.
Ryan took the files and other items from her hands, his face a mask of surprise and disbelief. He recognized the departmental files from MDPD as well as several medical files from a therapist and at least two from neurosurgeons.
“Oh my god... Calleigh, these are both of yours and Natalia’s files... not to mention her therapist files.” He quickly handed those to Calleigh, some things just were never meant to be shared.
She almost tore them from his hands. “My God! He has everything about us. There is nothing that he doesn’t know. He’s read Natalia’s sessions with her doctor. He had to have known what it would do to her if he confronted her one on one. He knows everything that she went through with Nick and Jethro, but he went ahead and did this.”
“I think that was the point, Cal...” Ryan muttered. He had noticed the neurological files and grabbed them out of the stack of debris, laying them out on the table, x-rays and all. Countless moments ticked by until he realized what he was staring at. In the middle of the skull x-rays was a mangled piece of steel, a 9 mm bullet. Ryan dumped out the remaining papers, sorting through them until he found the doctors additional notes. “My god... Calleigh, this explains what’s wrong with Eric.” He held up the x-rays for her to see.
Placing her hand over her mouth, Calleigh was stunned. She stared of the films for a few moments before reaching for the neurological file and thumbing through it quickly. “It’s moving. The bullet is moving in his brain and he needs to have it removed and.... Ryan, these files are in someone else’s name. He didn’t want this reported to the department so he went to a doctor under an assumed name.”
Ryan just as horrified as Calleigh, slammed his fists on the tabletop. “We have to find him! He’s a danger to himself and the public right not, not to mention Natalia and yourself!” Ryan stressed the point. “We have to report him!”
Calleigh turned her back on the young man, and walked around the room, her mind quickly going through all of the possibilities and probabilities while looking at the guns that lined the wall. Whirling around, she offered. “How about getting someone to track him for us?”
Ryan hesitated before shrugging uselessly. “Who do you know that isn’t afraid of cops? Someone who isn’t afraid to follow one around, and keep tabs on him? Calleigh, I’m skeptical simply because I don’t want Eric to hurt anyone else. Who could find him?” Ryan sounded so hopeless and defeated. The troubling news about Eric had hit him too close to home.
Reaching for her phone, Calleigh looked through her phone book and made a call. “Hey Jen, this is Calleigh...How are you? I have a favor.... I know that you’ve been looking for something to do for a while and I have something that I’d like to offer you, but I want to tell you up front that it could be dangerous.... Do you remember Eric? Yeah, him... Well, he’s kinda gone loopy and we need to track him down.... Oh, ok...Really? Would she be able to meet with a friend of mine? He knows what’s going on and could fill her in, and then I could meet with you guys tomorrow.... OK, hold on a sec.”
She covered the mouthpiece, turning to Ryan. “Is it ok if I give her your phone number? I trust her to help us?”
If Calleigh trusted this person to help them, then he had to trust her judgment, it hadn’t failed him yet. “Yeah, go ahead.”
Telling Jen the number, Calleigh asked her to have her friend call Ryan as soon as possible, as this was an emergency, and then thanked her before she hung up.
“Whoever this woman is your friend has referred us to, better be one hell of a tough character.” Ryan murmured before placing his hand on Calleigh’s arm. “It’s going to be okay Calleigh.”
Running her fingers through her hair, Calleigh closed her eyes for a moment, trying to still the racing thoughts. “It has to be Ryan. Natalia can’t have any more stress right now, and we need to help Eric. He seems to know what’s going on, but just can’t stop himself.”
Ryan’s cell phone chirped; an unknown number sent him a text message. “Docks, east end, 5:30, Don’t be late, come alone.” Was all the cryptic text message said. Flipping his phone closed he sighed before looking down at Calleigh. “I promised you that if you or Natalia ever needed anything, that I would be right there. I’m not going back on my word, DuVista.” He smiled warmly.
Walking over to hug the young man who was turning out to be her closest confidant, other than Natalia, Calleigh replied. “I know that we haven’t always see eye-to-eye, and that I have doubted you on a number of occasions, but I know that you will do your damnest to protect Natalia.”
Ryan wrapped his arms around her tightly, fighting the urge to give her a brotherly kiss on the crown of her head. “You're included in that too, Calleigh. You two are married remember? I just received a text from this mystery woman. I am due to meet with her at 5:30, alone..” His voice trailed off indicating what he felt about this meeting. Ryan had his reserves about using civilians for this kind of work, Eric was unstable, unpredictable, and armed.
Calleigh smirked as she looked up at him. “Why do I have the feeling that you want to give me a brotherly kiss? Seriously, though, I want you to be careful. Take all of this with you. Ask if we can all meet tomorrow, or whatever she wants to do. I do, however, want your input on what you think about this person. If you don’t get a good vibe, walk away and we’ll figure something else out.”
Ryan hugged her a little tighter to his chest, feeling protective all of a sudden. He realized without a doubt, that Calleigh and Natalia were family to him. He let her go, smiling slightly. “I’m actually curious to meet this person, if your friend Jen recommends her, she must be something else.” He admitted softly. “Especially since Eric has gone AWOL, he’s no slouch, look at what he did to you.” Ryan motioned towards her ribs and body.
“Yeah, Jen is a character herself so this mystery woman will probably be also.” Calleigh looked down at her watch and swore softly. “I’ve got to go. Natalia has to be there in thirty minutes and I’ve got an eye doctor appointment. Call me after the meeting and let me know what happened.”
“What time did Manny say that my car would be done?”
Ryan handed her the keys. “He’s already finished. Told me to tell you that you owe him big time. I’m not going to give this mysterious woman yours or Natalia’s files. Is there someplace here that you can put them?”
Picking them up, Calleigh walked over to a filing cabinet, unlocked it, and placed them in the bottom drawer at the very back. “No one else has the key. Call me tonight.”
They agreed, and Calleigh walked towards the DNA lab, going over everything in her mind. She didn’t want Natalia to know anything about what Eric was going through until she absolutely had to. Last night’s nightmare scared the both of them, and Calleigh wanted to spare her wife from everything that she could. She realized that she had told Ryan that she was going to tell her tonight what had happened, but she honestly didn’t think that she was going to.
Leaning against the doorway of Natalia’s lab, Calleigh was glad to see her wife joking with Valera. ‘God, she has the most beautiful smile.’
“Hey, you about ready to go?”
Turning her head, Natalia saw the blonde leaning casually against the door jam. “Hey! Yeah, I’m ready. I’m gonna ace this thing.”
Taking a step forward, Calleigh allowed her fingers to reach out and gently brush against her shoulder, needing to have contact with her, if only for a brief moment. “I know that you will, so let’s get this show on the road.”
Waiting until Natalia had grabbed her things, they then walked out to the parking lot. Natalia got a puzzled looked on her face for an instant. “Hey, I thought that we parked over there?” She pointed to the earlier spot.
Clearing her throat, Calleigh thought quickly. “Ryan needed to make a quick errand and his car was too far away so I let him use mine.”
“Mmkay.” Was Natalia response.
The ride was quiet over to the city’s executive offices where the exam was given. As Calleigh pulled up to the front entrance, she brought up Natalia’s hand which she had been holding during the ride and brushed her lips against bronzed knuckles.
“I’ll see you in two hours unless you finish early. If you do, just give me a call and I’ll come pick you up. My appointment shouldn’t take more than an hour.”
Chuckling, Natalia replied. “I’ll probably take the full two hours babe.”
Leaning over so that she could look her wife directly in her sparkling eyes. “Darlin’, I do wish that you would give yourself more credit. Both I and Horatio have faith in you and your skills. You’re Natalia Freakin’ DuVista, and you can do anything that you put your mind to.”
A caramel colored eyebrow arched gracefully. “Natalia Freakin’ DuVista, where did that come from?”
“I must have read it somewhere, but it’s still true. You can do anything that you want.”
Nodding her head firmly, Natalia affirmed it mentally. “Damn straight. Ok, I’ll call you when I get out early then and we can head over to the bank.”
Leaning over to give her wife a quick kiss, Natalia murmured against her lips. “I do love you so. See you in a bit.”
“I love you too. Give ‘em hell baby.”
With that, Natalia got out of the car, and walked inside. Calleigh stayed there, watching until she walked through the doors. Then she carefully looked around the area to see if Eric was lurking around. She didn’t think that he would be that bold to make a scene here, but she really couldn’t be sure. When she was finally comfortable, she drove to her appointment.
An hour and forty-five minutes later, Natalia was sitting outside on a stone bench under a palm tree, enjoying watching people walk by as she waited on Calleigh. The exam was much easier than she had imagined, and she figured that she had either qualified with flying colors or had failed it spectacularly. She was just glad that it was over so that she could just relax.
Leaning back against the tree, Natalia folded her hands together over her stomach and closed her eyes in contentment.
It was in that position that Calleigh found her, so she decided just to stand leaning against a nearby lamppost, and enjoy the sight. ‘How in the hell did I get so lucky?’
Natalia felt the baby fine hairs on the back of her neck prick up, so she knew that she was being watched by a certain someone. Those feelings spread out like a warm blanket all over her body, making her feel such love that she could barely stand it. Turning her head slightly, she opened her eyes to stare into a jade green gaze that heated up her blood even more. Without hesitation, she stood, walked over to her wife, and gave her a kiss. A kiss of promises of things to come.
“I love you Calleigh. More than I can ever say.”
Resting her hands lightly on Natalia’s hips, Calleigh whispered back. “I love you too darlin’. More with each passing day. And just in case you have forgotten, we just kissed in front of the city’s executive offices in full view of everyone with our badges on.”
Laughing, Natalia couldn’t resist saying. “Well then, they should be glad that I didn’t decide to use the cuffs then.”
Calleigh playfully swatted at her arm. “You are so bad.” Grabbing her hand, she intertwined their fingers, and led them over to her car. Getting in, Calleigh waited until her wife had closed the door before reaching over to pull her over for another kiss. This one was hard and hungry, the need spreading out to both women until they were both moaning.
Natalia pulled away, leaning her forehead against Calleigh’s, while glancing at the back seat. “You gotta get a bigger car. There’s not enough room back there for the both of us.”
Calleigh growled. “Only one of us has to be laying down darlin’, the other can be kneeling.”
With her eyes going wide, Natalia squirmed in her seat. “Oh lord! The visual of that one. We gotta try that later.”
“I’ll see what I can do. Come on, we have a date with a bank.”
The ride over was quiet, but very sexually charged and it seemed that it was way too short.
As Natalia got out of the car, she looked over to her wife. “How fast can we do this? I really want to get home and try that position.”
Walking around her car to walk next to Natalia as they went into the bank. “What fun is that? We need to do it in a parking lot, in a field, or…. We could go to the Tropicaire Drive In. That would be the perfect place to try it out.
Stopping right outside the entranceway, Natalia turned to look at the blonde with a look of shock. “Are you serious? You wanna go to a drive in, and make out?”
Stepping as close as she could without getting too familiar in public, Calleigh whispered. “Darlin’, what we would be doing would be more than making out. We would be doing the whole nine yards, the whole kit and caboodle, the….”
“I got it babe. Yeah, we can do that. Maybe this weekend. Now I’ve just got to get that out of my mind.” Natalia took several deep breaths before she headed into the bank.